A firewall is simply a barrier that protects your system from unauthorized access. It monitors and controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. Windows OS comes with an in-built firewall but there are several alternatives that might provide better protection for your system. While using any of the ones listed below, ensure the in-built one in your system is disabled. Installing a Firewall Programs For Windows does not take away the need for antivirus software because their functions are not the same.
Here are the 10 ranked free firewall programs for Windows:
Comodo Firewall / Firewall Programs For Windows
Comodo Firewall offers virtual Internet browsing, an ad blocker, custom DNS servers, a Game Mode, and a Virtual Kiosk. It also provides features to enable you to block any process or program from leaving/entering the network. You can easily add programs to the block or allow list.
It also has very specific, advanced settings. Comodo Firewall has a Rating Scan option to scan all running processes to show how trustworthy they are. This is especially useful if you suspect that some kind of malware is running on your computer.
Comodo KillSwitch is an advanced portion of Comodo Firewall that lists all running processes and makes it so easy to terminate or block anything you don’t want. You can also see all your computer’s running applications and services from this window.
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Comodo Firewall has a huge installer file at just over 200 MB. Which could take longer than you’re used to seeing files download, especially on slower networks.
Comodo Free Firewall works in Windows 10, 8, and 7.
Note: Comodo Firewall will change your default home page and search engine unless you deselect that option on the first screen of the installer during the initial setup.
AVS Firewall protects your computer from malicious registry changes. Pop-up windows, flash banners, and most advertisements. Has a very friendly interface and should be easy enough for anyone to use. You can even customize the URLs that should be blocked for ads and banners if one isn’t already listed.
Allowing and denying specific IP addresses, ports, and programs is so easy. You can add these manually or browse through a list of running processes to choose one from there.
AVS Firewall includes Parent Control, which is a section to only allow access to an explicit list of websites. You can password protect this section of the AVS Firewall to prevent unauthorized changes.
History of network connections is available through the Journal section so you can easily browse through and see what connections have been established in the past.
AVS Firewall works in Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP.
TinyWall is another free firewall program that protects you without displaying tons of notifications and prompts like most other firewall software.
An application scanner is included in TinyWall to scan your computer for programs it can add to the safe list. You’re also able to choose a process, file. Or service manually and give it firewall permissions that are permanent or for a specified number of hours.
You can run TinyWall in Autolearn mode to teach it which programs you want to give network access to so you can open all of them. And then shut down the mode to quickly add all your trusted programs to the safe list.
A Connections monitor shows all the active processes that have a connection to the internet as well as any open ports. You’re able to right-click any of these connections to abruptly terminate the process or even send it to VirusTotal. Among other options, for an online virus scan.
TinyWall also blocks known locations that harbor viruses and worms, protects changes made to Windows Firewall, can be password protected. And can lock down the host’s file from unwanted changes.
TinyWall only works with Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista, Windows XP is not supported.
NetDefender is a lightweight firewall program for Windows. You can define a source and destination IP address and port number as well as the protocol to block or allow any address. This means you can block FTP or any other port from being used on the network.
Blocking applications is a bit limited because the program must be currently running to add it to the block list. This works by simply listing all the running programs and having the option to add them to the list of blocked programs.
NetDefender also includes a port scanner so you can quickly see which ports are open on your machine to help realize which of them you may want to close.
NetDefender works officially only in Windows XP and Windows 2000.
ZoneAlarm Free Firewall
ZoneAlarm Free Firewall is the basic version of ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall but just without the antivirus portion. You can, however, add this portion to the install at a later date if you wish to have a virus scanner alongside this firewall program.
During setup, you’re given the option to install ZoneAlarm Free Firewall with one of two security types: AUTO-LEARN or MAX SECURITY. The former makes changes based on your behavior while the latter gives you the ability to control each. And every application setting manually.
ZoneAlarm Free Firewall can lock the host’s file to prevent malicious changes, enter into Game Mode to manage notifications automatically for less disturbance, password protect its settings to prevent unauthorized changes. And even email you security status reports.
You can also use ZoneAlarm Free Firewall to easily adjust the security mode of public and private networks with a slider setting. You can slide the setting from no firewall protection to medium or high to adjust whether or not anyone on the network can connect to you. Which allows restricting file and printer sharing for certain networks.
Note: Choose a custom install during setup and click Skip all offers to avoid installing anything but ZoneAlarm Free Firewall.
ZoneAlarm Free Firewall works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.
PeerBlock is different than most firewall programs because instead of blocking programs. It blocks whole lists of IP addresses under certain category types.
It works by loading a list of IP addresses that PeerBlock will use to block your access to – both outgoing and incoming connections. This means any of the listed addresses won’t have access to your computer in the same way you won’t have access to their network.
You can make your own list of addresses to block or use several free ones from I-BlockList. Lists you add to PeerBlock can be updated regularly and automatically without any intervention.
PeerBlock works in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.
There are three profiles in Privatefirewall. Allowing for easy switching between unique settings and firewall rules.
The list of applications that are allowed or blocked is very easy to recognize and alter. You can add new applications to the list and clearly see which are blocked and which are allowed. It’s not confusing in the slightest.
When editing the access rule for a process, there are really advanced settings like defining whether to allow, ask, or block the ability of the process to set hooks, open threads, copy screen content, monitor clipboard content, initiate a shutdown/logoff. Debug processes, and many others.
When you right-click the icon for Privatefirewall in the notification area of the taskbar, you can quickly block or filter traffic without any prompts or extra buttons. This is a very simple way to quickly stop all network activity at once.
You can also use Privatefirewall to restrict outbound email, block specific IP addresses, deny access to a network, and disable access to custom websites.
Privatefirewall works in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.
8) Outpost Firewall / Firewall Programs For Windows
Outpost Firewall is not easy to use compared to other programs on this list, however, there are several advanced settings to make up for that.
At the first launch, rules can be automatically created for well-known applications, which is nice so you don’t have to manually define them if you have popular programs installed.
Just like other firewall programs, Outpost Firewall allows you to add custom programs to the block/allow list and define specific IP addresses and ports to allow or deny as well.
The Anti-Leak Control feature prevents malware from giving over data through otherwise trusted applications, which isn’t included in all firewall programs but is surely useful.
Unfortunately, this program is no longer being developed, meaning that it no longer gets updated and exists as-is without support or opportunities for new features.
R-Firewall / Firewall Programs For Windows
R-Firewall has all the features you’d expect to find in a firewall program but the interface isn’t very easy to use. Also, there aren’t any inline instructions that help explain what a change in settings will do when applied.
A wizard can be run to apply rules to several programs at once by detecting the software that’s currently installed. R-Firewall only works with newer versions of Windows such as Windows 10, 8, and 7.
Ashampoo FireWall / Firewall Programs For Windows
When Ashampoo FireWall is first launched, you’re given an option to walk through a wizard in Easy Mode or Expert Mode to set up which programs should be allowed or blocked from using the network.
The Learning Mode feature is wonderful because it assumes everything should be blocked. This means as programs start requesting access to the Internet, you must manually give them permission and then set Ashampoo FireWall to remember your choice. This is helpful because you’re able to know the exact programs that are accessing the Internet to block those that shouldn’t be.
Clicking the Block All feature in Ashampoo FireWall immediately halts all incoming and outgoing connections. This is perfect if you suspect a virus has infected your computer and is communicating with a server or transferring files out of your network.
You must request a free license code to use Ashampoo FireWall. It only works with Windows XP and Windows 2000.